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Photo Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Talbot needs to play like a starter

Cam Talbot returns to the lineup with desperation circling the Oilers. They need wins. A lot of them.

And they will need more saves from Talbot.

His .903sv% in 22 starts this season is well below his career average of .920 and with the Oilers’ offence awakening recently — 26 goals in past seven games — he doesn’t need to steal games, he just needs to be consistent.

Of the 27 goalies with 18+ starts, only Craig Anderson (.897) and Scott Darling (.899) have a lower sv% than Talbot. He is better than .903sv% and he needs to play up to his ability starting tomorrow in Minnesota.

Prior to his injury, Talbot was starting to play to his expected level. In his final three starts, he stopped 72 of 78 shots (.923sv%) and only allowed two goals in each game versus Detroit, Boston and Arizona.

The Oilers have the lowest team sv% in the Western Conference, and Talbot has the lowest sv% of any starter in the west.

Corey Crawford (Chic): .934 in 24 starts
Pekka Rinne (NSH): .927 in 24 starts
Jonathan Quick (LA): .926 in 25 starts
John Gibson (ANA): .922 in 25 starts
Antti Raanta (ARI): .919 in 15 starts
Mike Smith (CGY): .918 in 28 starts
Connor Hellebuyck WPG): .917 in 24 starts
Devan Dubnyk (MINN): .915 in 23 starts
Martin Jones (SJ): .915 in 21 starts
Jake Allen (ST.L): .911 in 27 starts
Jacob Markstrom (VAN): .911 in 21 starts
Ben Bishop (DAL): .909 in 23 starts
Semyon Varlamov (COL): .906 in 19 starts
Cam Talbot (EDM): .903 in 22 starts

***Vegas is an outlier due to using four goalies. Marc-Andre Fleury has .934 in six starts, Malcolm Subban has .924 in nine starts, Oscar Dansk .946 in three starts and Maxime Legace .872 in 14 starts. Their top three goalies, in 18 starts, have a .930sv%, so it is still higher.***

If Talbot plays up to his capabilities, he should steal the odd game for the Oilers. They will need him to win the odd game for them.

REST OF GROUP

Oct 21, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Flyers right wing Wayne Simmonds (17) is upended by Edmonton Oilers defenseman Matt Benning (83) in front of goalie Cam Talbot (33) during the second period at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The Oilers as a team are playing better as of late, but they are still battling inconsistency. They can’t kill off a penalty with any sort of regularity. In the last seven games, they’ve allowed seven PP goals on 22 kills (68.1%). It is painful how inept they are on the PK.

They are grossly ineffective at home. In their ten home losses, they have allowed 15 goals on 33 chances. The opposing powerplays are 45.4%. That is not a typo. This is a serious problem and the coaches need to address it. In the past 100 games, the Oilers PK is 76%. This is a problem and, while the coaches have tried new things, nothing is working. It is getting worse. Something has to give and I wonder how long before the Oilers consider looking at a different coach to oversee the penalty kill. Jim Johnson runs it, and something is getting lost in translation between him and the players.

I realize McLellan is involved as well, but it is Johnson’s baby and right now it is spitting up all over itself. There has been some improvement. As mentioned, in the past seven games it has gotten worse, not better.

The Oilers are scoring enough to win, averaging 3.71 goals per game, but it is feast or famine with them. They have scored seven, six and six, in three games, but they’ve been shut out twice, both times to back up goalies who stopped 41 and 46 shots. You can’t fault their effort, but the harsh reality is you can’t win if you don’t score.

And they will face another backup tomorrow afternoon in Minnesota. Devan Dubnyk is injured so Alex Stalock will start for the Wild. Stalock is 5-3 with a .916sv% and a 2.61 GAA. He has won the last three games for the Wild, starting two and coming off the bench to replace an injured Dubnyk in the other.

The Oilers have played much better of late, but despite good efforts in Toronto and last night to Nashville, they were shut out in both. They can’t afford to waste many more good efforts. We know they will have some games where they don’t play well, but sitting in 14th spot they don’t have the luxury of building off a solid performance that results in a loss. They need to find ways to at least get a point in those contests.

It is desperation time for the Oilers and they have to hope the return of their starting goaltender is the boost they need.

PARTING SHOTS…

Adam Larsson will not play tomorrow. He skated again today, but he still hasn’t been cleared to play. Andrej Sekera is still on target to return around Christmas, but no word if that means before Christmas or after. If he doesn’t play Thursday versus St.Louis, I’d be surprised if he plays on the 23rd. Why would they play him then, rather than give him another four days off and play on the 27th in Winnipeg?

If everyone stays healthy, when Larsson and Sekera return I’d guess Eric Gryba and Nathan Walker will be the two sent down. Yohann Auvitu could be both the eighth defenceman and 14th forward.

MONTH OF GIVING

A massive thanks to Ken for his generous bid of $8000 and to A-1 Heating for the awesome Furnace/AC package.

Day #11: A custom made golf cart courtesy of Golf Cart People.

zphantom sport

You can bid by calling 780.444.1260  or text 101260 between 2-6 p.m. today.

Thanks in advance. All proceeds will help out Santas Anonymous

    • Doesn’t help when the officials are either blind or corrupt ( I believe the 2nd one) How many goals will count for the Wild , that should not count according to the rulebook? This league loses a little credibility every day, with the obvious slant in favor of US based teams. Not that that would have made a difference last night. The Anaheim series last year where they allowed 3 goals , all against the rules, the officiating crew should have been reviewed, reprimanded and a couple of them fired for incompetence, but we all know these are directions from head office. Not a coincidence that the Cup has never been back to Canada since Bettman was hired. It is part of his mandate.

      • OilersGM

        I honestly believe in your theory. Bettman is a joke, it’s all about the money for him I guess it is a business but people crave hockey in Canada and he knows so he wants to grow the game in U.S. and wants to be known for his growth of the game south of the border. He will put a team in Seattle before Quebec what a joke.

        • Dean S

          Gee Whiz, look at the big picture. Quebec has a large fan base, very passionate hockey fans. Many of them Montreal fans too. CBC, sportnet already have a full NHL schedule. The pacific northwest (USA) has no NHL team, Canucks games are as close as it gets. No major TV deal. Put a team in the pacific northwest USA and give them exposure (as Vegas has this year), a new TV contract comes into play and another part of North America has an NHL following and fan base. Houston is 4th largest TV market in US too. Quebec is a great market and no doubt will support a team. Just more upside ($$$) in new TV markets.

  • Roberto

    Minus McDavid, how much better is this team than the teams in the DOD? I’d like to think a lot, but their record doesn’t show it, and it looks terrible on the organization. If Chia wants to save any face, he’d get rid of the coaches, as a last ditch effort to save his job. However, this is the Oilers and failure means promotion…. so I don’t expect any changes. The Oilers are burning years of having the best player in the world in his prime.

    • Roberto

      That said, it doesn’t hurt to get your starting goalie, and 2 of your top 3 D men back at about the same time… So things should get better, just unfortunate that playoffs are more than likely something to talk about next year already, with Dahlin

    • OilersGM

      I would rather Chia be gone first, I don’t trust anything he does. We had the players here to build around but he decided to trade from the core rather than adding to it. Chia has turned over 90% of the roster since he took over now this is his mess. I just don’t trust he will clean his mess or is capable of doing so.

    • Dean S

      Edm needs consistent NHL goaltending. Losing games 7-0 and blowing 3 goal leads in under 5 mins kills any team.
      Going forward who will that be? Chiarelli what is the plan?

  • Oiler Al

    Lets see Allen .911 SV% and Blues are 3 rd in League standings. Oilers with a .903 SV% and 28th in league standings.
    Something else is ailing the Oil…… How about goal scoring . Of the 32 games played, they have scored 2 or less goals in 16 of those games, win.loose or draw. THERE IS A LOT OF ANEMIA ON THE SPECIAL TEAMS! If McLellans yo man. then at the least Woodroft and Johnson should be walking the plank. like today!

  • Roberto

    Sharks are doing pretty good again… with a worse team than the Oilers. At what point does this come back to McLellan, the head coach. Playoffs are basically a pipe dream (all praise McJesus, our only chance), so maybe the Oil will stick with what has gotten them in draft lotto position for the rest of this year, but there’s gotta be changes if they want to make it next year (with the best player in the world). I have zero confidence in this coaching staff, not much in the GM, and zero in the higher ups.

  • shaner

    TOugh for me to criticize chia, I thought liked his moves this summer (but wanted nuge gone instead of ebs) but Ive got to say I’m more disappointed this year than I was in DOD, it’s kind of refreshing for me to say I’ve taken a step back. I’ve been a legit oil fan since being a little kid watching them win cups in 80s….but there’s just something about this version of nhl that is a bit sour tasting and for me that means I won’t spend 300$ for a seat (including parking beers and a burger) to watch a team consistently make piles of money for an owner while providing extremely poor entertainment per dollar spent. It’s a 2-1 or 3-2 league and I’m just not seeing the value in supporting something that logically doesn’t offer the same value as many different options. I’m obviously on ON quite a bit and love the home town team and coverage of it, but I realized the only way things change in anything is if the money stops flowing……..I’m small potatoes and will admit this is a rant but I will say as much I have loved to hate the flames over the years, I gotta say the final straw for me would be Calgary without a team…..if hockey can’t make it in bettmans nhl in Calgary then something is wrong…at what point and time did 35 year old buildings become “obsolete” wrigley, Fenway, msg (renovated I realize) but cmon, the gardens (TO and Boston )the forum, Chicago stadium were around for 50+ years.

    Last thing I will say is if people are fed up this year, quit buying tickets (just like what is happening in van and ottawa

  • morsecode89

    Unless this teams goaltending and PK miraculously turn around, the season is over. It might already be over, thanks to those two very poor aspects of the teams overall game. How on earth do you have this bad of a penalty kill? Seriously, how? And the better question is, how has this not been adressed? If guys like Rishaugh are displaying th T formation on their twitter feeds, it has to be a disconnect between the players and coaching, and the entire system.

    If the opposition is scoring on 45% of their Power Play Ops, you’re not going to win many games. Even if Connor McDavid is on your hockey team.

  • DOD BEGINS AGAIN

    I honestly dont care what the team does anymore this year. *sigh* Sick of being out reffed….Tired of the league…For me, maybe its time to turn the page. No more “moral victories” for me. I have seen and heard every excuse from the management, clean through to the players. This league is fixed and if you have not realized that, I feel pity for you.

  • Dean S

    Talbot has really struggled this season, he has been on his knees challenging shooters and often gets caught out of position on rebounds and deflections. Certainly a goaltender coach cant point these things out if we can see them?
    Just compare his video to last years.

  • Dave in LA

    You nailed it On all counts Gregor. The most glaring problem for me is special teams and that one is on the coaching staff. The coaches have proven to me that they have no plan on either the PP or PK so if Maclelland wants to go down with the entire coaching staff he could keep looking he’s clueless or reach out and hire a Perry Pearn to run special teams. Could be a career saver. If it continues on as it is the entire staff won’t make March

  • BringitbacklikeSlats

    It’s times like these that make me thankful to be a second tier fan only supporting the team via a cable bill and not seasons tickets. I feel bad for the folk so who thought the organization had finally turned a corner and “put on their big boy pants” as Dave Lumley suggested.
    I’ll admit I thought things would change too. But here we are. Looking at another non playoff year. Kevin Lowe and MacTavish no doubt still pulling levers and knobs behind the scenery like the Wizard of OZ.
    Some sh$t just never seems to change.
    We quite possibly hold the most gifted player to ever play the gam in terms of skating and hand speed…Yet inexplicably have a one of the worst Powerplays of the previous 10 mired in futility. I mean sorry but if Bob Nicholson has called for his people to be accountable then this can not stand. Either Todd fires his PP and PK men, or Nicholson must move on from Todd all together. Nothing personal, this is a business not a family.

  • 1ncinawhile

    Expect Talbot to be flat… it always takes this goalie a few games to get into his “groove” … he plays better as he goes, and the more he plays the better he gets… I don’t expect him to play good for 2-3 games minimum – just sayin